You’re busy enough running your company, so any time you can save managing administrative processes is a huge benefit. That’s why having an efficient yet flexible business software solution is so important.
As the premier project management and accounting software for interior designers, Design Manager not only understands the importance of accurate time entry but also the flexible nature of time tracking. Design Manager developed a mobile app time tracker and a time import to help companies adapt their current time tracking methods into the Design Manager system. For this article we will focus on the time import, but you can learn more about the mobile app time tracker in our previous article.
Benefit 1: Flexible Settings
Design Manager offers flexible time settings in a way that works best for your business.
For instance, you can choose to have time entries created as new items or joined to an item that already exists by choosing between these options located in Company Settings- Advanced- Time section:
- New Item: Selecting this option forces each time entry to create a new Item in the Project. In this way, each time entry is listed explicitly on the Invoice to the client.
- Join to Item: Selecting this option takes a more consolidated approach to timekeeping. In this manner, time entries join to a time item and display a single line item which can then be applied at a frequency level that suits each unique project, such as by week, month, or even activity.
If you select the Join to Item option, you have additional configuration and customization settings:
- Join Only to Dated Items: You can direct time entries to apply to line items that are configured for time billing within a particular date range, which has not been invoiced. This setting is the default.
- Automatically Create Monthly Item: You can streamline your billing with this feature that allows Design Manager to automatically create a time item within the project for the month of your imported time entries. This way you don’t need to remember to do it yourself each month.
- User Can Choose: Allows the user entering the time to decide how to create time entries, either by creating a new time item or joining it to an existing item.
Benefit 2: Minimize Data Entry and Save Time
The Design Manager time import feature allows you to import a range of file types and from there, you can review and correct the entries before ultimately posting them to your projects.
The most commonly used formats include Excel files (both .xls and .xlsx), Comma Separated Value files (.csv), Text files (ending in .txt), and even iCalendar (.ics) files. You can use most common programs to produce these files, including Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, calendars, as well as, timekeeping apps like Harvest if you aren’t using the Design Manager Mobile App already. Notably, Apple Numbers is excluded because the file format is proprietary by design.
If you want the best and most streamlined import experience, try using Design Manager’s Time Template for your time sheets rather than creating a spreadsheet from scratch.
Generate a Time Sheet for Employees to Complete
When it’s time to request time sheets from your employees, you can generate an email that goes to all (or a select group) of employees simultaneously with a company-wide time sheet template attached. This is a great feature to use for companies who send all of their employee time sheets to an office manager or expediter to enter.
Here’s how it works:
- Click the Get Excel Sheet button
- Click Show Email
- Go to the Address Book and select only Employees
Tag or Select the specific employees
- Click Send Email
- Select the Time Sheets Option
You can even edit Design Manager’s Time Sheet Template and save that file as the new time sheet template for use throughout your company.
Benefit 3: Catch Time Billing Mistakes Early
When you are ready to import employee time sheets either through the acceptable file formats listed above or the generated time sheet through DM, the process is simple and designed to give you space to properly and efficiently review the time entries before posting.
Start by determining which of the following you want to import:
- All Entries: This includes everything on the import file, regardless of the date.
- Within Date Range: This narrows the scope to a defined date range. You will definitely want to use this option if you are using calendar import files to prevent importing all calendar events since your first use of that calendar.
When using any spreadsheet or file format, you will have to do a one-time field mapping. Design Manager will automatically recognize these fields every time after, but it is still in your best interest to maintain consistency in your file format and naming conventions.
You have now successfully imported your file and it is time for review. Design Manager not only gives you the ability to edit or delete entries that came in from the import file, but from this window you can also add new time entries. The add feature is handy in case there were any missed time entries on the time sheets.
During this review phase, it is important to note that these time entries are not yet recorded. This is your opportunity to double-check employee data entry, accuracy of dates and times, etc.
Those are the basic import features, but there are others that can help you, too.
Good to know features:
- Totals for Billable Hours and Amount, Nonbillable Hours, and Total Hours are conveniently listed along the top of the window.
- Time entries display in ascending date order, with the oldest first. Like most grids in Design Manager, you can just adjust the Sort settings if you wish to display time by project or activity.
Think of the Time Import Window as a workspace to manage all your entries before you commit them to projects. In this way, this space functions as a draft for billing your clients.
In a larger firm, an office manager or controller can use this space as a master time dashboard where they can import all employees time sheets, perform a company-wide review of time for a particular period and easily make any corrections prior to committing the time entries to projects for billing.
Look, you’re busy, and while managing design time is part of the job, it’s not why you got into interior design. Design Manager can help you spend less time doing the nitty gritty and more time being creative!